February 28, 2019
A smarter approach to identity and access management based on AI, machine learning and analytics
By: Neha Joshi

With the evolution of analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, it’s not surprising that they’re now being applied to identity management. What is surprising, and gratifying, is how quickly they’re helping to resolve the long-standing pain surrounding access management and user privileges.

As people join and leave organizations, teams form and re-form, contractors come and go and ecosystems extend, access management has become increasingly overburdened and overwhelmed. It takes far too long to certify the growing volumes of access rights, and even then, those rights are often not fully described or understood. This means there is little to no transparency about what access people need and their job functions. The result? Confidence in the resulting decisions is low, which is another way of saying risks escalate. Even if organizations manage to tame and define their access models, odds are it has taken so long that the everchanging access landscape has rendered them stale. So after (over)spending all that time and money, the company is back where it started.

The net of all this confusion is unnecessary risk, excessive costs and a drain on productivity, as managers struggle to configure access and employees wait … and wait.

What improved access looks like

Here at Accenture, we think it looks like a new capability we recently launched. Under the hood, we use analytics, machine learning and AI to provide smarter management of access rights across the entire organization. With analytics adding insight, automation accelerating the process and AI adding intelligence, this capability helps organizations identify higher risk areas that may require more governance.

The "secret sauce"

This capability consumes and aggregates data from multiple sources, including existing IAM and HR systems, and ports it into a scalable microservices architecture. From there, it applies a patent-pending algorithm, one ingredient in our "secret sauce," to create confidence scores revealing what good access looks like across an organization. The people making access decisions get the big-picture context they need--and as the organization matures, our capability can automate much of the process. In addition, it predicts the access required for new joiners and movers in organizations to make onboarding faster and less painful.

Another ingredient in the secret sauce here is the collaborative work put in by clients and our global innovation hub, The Dock, during development. The people at The Dock worked with a cross-disciplinary team of designers, engineers, data scientists and security experts on ways to fix access management. But we could not have created this without the five organizations across varying industries who shared their experiences, desires and data.

The result is a tool that flips identity management tradition on its head to work with an organization’s entire entitlement landscape. Its real beauty is that it provides context and automatically updates that context as the organization changes. Access is now transparent, over-provisioning and human error are reduced, identity governance costs are significantly reduced and HR enjoys a single source of truth for access management—and it all happens via an easy-to-use interface.

Bottom line, we believe our new capability is the most advanced identity and access management capability in the market.

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